Ivy Tea Company provided 30 tea cups and saucers with the word “powerful” on them at no cost to participants. (Courtesy of Twitter @Ivysteaco)

By Michelle Richardson
Special to the AFRO

Nothing says high class like a tea party. Add in Black women and it’s instantly taken to another level. 

That’s what the Greenmount West Community Center (GWCC) set out to do with its first ever Back To School Reali-TEA Virtual Tea Party held on Sept. 6. 

“We are an incubator that’s invested in Black children and their families,” said Kisha L. Webster, former school principal and executive director and co-founder of GWCC. 

The GWCC Foundation, founded in 2016, is a response to the “energy that was coming due to gentrification,” according to Webster. 

“It was just a mixture of people not really understanding how to engage with each other. I was community president at the time and people were very concerned about the children in the community and having no place to go, and so that caused a lot of different type of energy with the newer residents in the community and those that are not used to being around a bunch of Black people, let’s be honest.” 

The concept of a virtual tea party came to Webster as she started to become saddened by the long list of names of the women that have been murdered, harmed and pained. She wanted to honor those women in their death, but also thought it equally as important to honor one another in life. 

“So I was thinking, what can we do that was intergenerational, because we had to make sure we were involving young people as well as elders. I’ve been to Teas. I love it. I’m a tea lover. I love the elegance of it, so I thought okay let’s introduce this to our children and our families to be a part of it and it’s about 40 women and girls who participated,” said Webster. 

Every company that was used to bring together the “reali-tea” is owned by Black women.

Ivy Tea Company, founded by Shanae Jones and host of #TrapChina, supplied 30 cups and saucers with the word “Powerful” in them for the tea at no cost to the GWCC. Those that participated were able to pick up their China for the big day. Flowers from a Black-owned florist were delivered to every family that registered by the deadline, and treats from a Black owned bakery were also supplied. 

Guests also received gift sets. 

“This is just a love fest for the women in Baltimore and the women in this country because we have people in other parts of the country that will be apart,” Webster explained.

“The Black women in Baltimore that I have come across; the brilliance is real but I don’t think that Black women are uplifted enough in this city,” she added.  

The agenda for the program included guest speakers, a spoken word artist, vocal performances, and poetry readings as well as a history on Black women and tea. 

“This is something that we are absolutely going to make sure we put on for the community every year.”